Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rebekah Lucy Loves Rome. (And her mum and dad.)

My hākui and hākoro have been and gone, a five-week visit to the Northern Hemisphere done and dusted in the blink of an eye. My heart! I didn't have as much time with them as I would have liked on account of my pesky 9-5 which consumes most of my Sitting Around and / or Doing Nothing hours, but I was able to have an amazing mini break to Italy with them.

From Rome to to Siena to Florence to Pisa to Faenza, I was blown away. And that was just the pizza. Will we share one? No we will not, MOTHER. Get your own. I've tried to write this a couple of times since, but I don't know how to put any of it in to words, really. I'll give it a crack because it's nice to (try to) remember.

I 100% fell in love with Rome. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

We spent our first afternoon in the Vatican Museum, there's room after room of incredible... stuff... to behold in that joint but my highlight was the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, or the Gallery of Maps. The clue, believe it or not, is in the name and the room contains a series of topographical maps of Italy based on drawings by a Friar called Ignazio Danti. It took him three years to complete all of the panels, which were commissioned by Pope Gregory alllll the way back in 1580. The ceiling, which was my absolute favourite bit, wasn't completed by Danti himself but a series of artists. If I lived in Italy I'd need a standing appointment with a chiropractor I'll tell you that much. All of the looking up would just never get tired. Of course there were other incredible ceilings throughout, and the Sistine Chapel, and a collection of Vatican postage stamps (nerd alert!), but I've not been able to unsee that ceiling in the Gallery of Maps.

Although we didn't go in on that first day, I did get my first glimpse of St Peter's Basilica. My nearest and dearest can attest to my love for domes - I've been having a relationship with St Paul's probably since the first day I got my first contract job in London (he just doesn't know it yet), but I've never seen anything like St Peter's (soz Paul). It is magnificent, domey perfection; the tallest dome in the world, rising over 136 metres from the floor of the basilica to the top of the cross. Outside the basilica, the vast St Peter's Piazza is home to The Witness, an Egyptian obelisk (er, I've got a major thing for them too by the way - it all started in Paris in 2011!) from the 13th century BC. Just a little something the Romans picked up on a recent international jaunt, you know. It turns out the Romans are as partial to obelisks as I am, there are eight ancient Egyptian, five ancient Roman, and collection of more modern obelisks dotted around the city. A quick Google while we were there told me there was an Ethiopian obelisk in Rome until 2005 too but apparently after it was struck by lightning (!) in 2002 it was dissasembled and returned to Ethiopia, which is... kind of nice I guess? I feel like if someone borrowed one of my obelisks I'd be pretty keen to get it back too. We had dinner at the Piazza Del Popollo on our first night (pizza and wine for me, fuck your judgement) and guess what? Another obelisk you guys! Flaminio, brought to Rome by Augustus in 10 BC.

The next morning we were super geared up to see the interior of St Peter's... but so were 17,000 other tourists (planning fail!) so we decided to check out some of the other sites instead, first visiting Castel Sant'Angelo, which as Dad helpfully explained is "where the baddie hides out in the Dan Brown book." It's also (more importantly, some may say) the Mausoleum of Hadrian, started in 135 AD. In the 14th century, the popes started using it as a bit of a fortress or a hide out which is pretty cool. It's also round, which I appreciate. Round is... kind of domey you know. Our second day also took us to the Piazza Navona. Not specifically for another obelisk but... This one's Roman, Agonalis it's called. I've read that the Earl of Arundel tried to ship it to London in the 1600s but thankfully his efforts were shut down. We moved on to the Pantheon next. Again, not specifically for another obelisk but Ramses II, another Egyptian beauty sits out front in the Piazza della Rotonda. The Pantheon is, of course, mind-blowing. I did a whopping two years of Classical Studies at high school so my inner geek was delighted to see (and touch) the Corinthian columns for real, to see the tomb of Raphael, to stand underneath the oculus. Also, who knew the Trevi Fountain was that big? Not this guy. It is tourist chaos at the fountain but a mere hundred metres down the road it was easy enough to grab a table in the shade for more pizza. Seriously, I'm lucky I didn't turn in to a carbohydrate on this trip. We got a bit lost for a while after lunch, but righted ourselves and found the Spanish Steps, which as Vic Mak had warned me were literally just stairs. And then I got that song about them stuck in my head for the rest of the day. "Rome is burning, you can taste the embers. I am walking hard on Spanish steps." You know the one? No? Just me and my ridiculous retention for lyrics then? Good. Guess what we found at the top? Obelisk! Ha. Even I'll admit it was starting to seem like a bit of a joke at this point but there it was, Sallustiano.

Two things I would like to interrupt myself to mention about Rome which are awesome: the city is plumbed so there are beautiful water fountains on every street - a God send in the late Summer heat; and the metro is air-conditioned, again with the Gifts from God in the heat!

Again, my Inner Classics Geek was pretty excited and emotional for the Colosseum, you guys I have got to stop crying inside churches and historic sites. Mum got a bit choked up too, I guess it's emotional because it's just so cool. Wow, eloquent! Maybe especially when you come from a wee far off land like Aotearoa, you know. And sure, thousands upon thousands of other people get to visit these sites every day too but standing inside a real, tangible piece of ancient history like that, one of the modern day Seven Wonders is pretty mind blowing. The scale of the place is incredible, how much of it still stands is pretty amazing too, and I was pretty touched by little things like ancient graffiti - stick figures for the win! An artist after my own unskilled heart...

We headed out to the old part of town that evening, Trastavere which is on the south bank of the Tiber. It's a beautiful wee spot, narrow cobbled streets lined by medieval houses. We chose a little restaurant with outdoor seating and I had a bowl of the best risotto I have ever tasted in my life - cheese and asparagus, a creamy dream. Washed down with more Italian wine. When in Rome... Oh, that... actually works here. When in Rome! Yes!

The next day, our last day, we had to make it to St Peter's so we got up early, covered our shoulders (several people had not done this, several people were sent away again to fetch scarves) and headed for the basilica. Best plan ever, the crowds of the previous days were completely non-existent and we walked straight in. The interior is like nothing I have ever seen on this Earth and it is ENORMOUS. Words and photos will never do it justice. My advice is to go there and see it for yourself and if possible... never, ever leave. I know one thing for sure: I have go to back one day. We were able to get up inside the dome too, inside a dome you guys! Then out on to the roof to admire the exterior of the dome and the incredible views of the city. If I could design my own personal Heaven, that'd probably be it. A dome with a view. A dome in the sunshine lined with cheesey snacks with a view.

Our last stop in Rome was the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which was the centre of Roman public life for centuries. We did this without any guides or maps because... they didn't have any. I didn't really know what I was looking at except... columns, all of the columns! And the Temple of Romulus which is the best preserved Pagan temple in Rome.

It's an important spot to check out map or no map, according to Roman mythology the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf who suckled them and kept them alive. The story says the twins were later found and raised by a shepherd and his wife, never knowing their true origins (their father was Mars, so you know... a God). One day they do find out who they are and they decide to establish a new city of their own. Romulus prefers the Palatine Hill, Remus prefers the Aventine Hill. There is a vote, which they each claim to win, so they fight and Remus is killed. Romulus founds his new city, names it Rome, and the rest they say, is history.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rebekah Lucy Loves Reading Festival (and Eminem)

I kind of feel like one of those brides with the post-wedding blues. The Big Event has been and gone and now what? I mean, my parents arrive next week and then we’re going to Italy, so that’s actually more than plenty to be excited about (and I totally am!) but I’d been counting down to Eminem at the Reading Festival for more than like 250 days and now it’s all over and I’m a bit sad. Not sad because of him, sad because no more him. Or something. I’m so eloquent, me.

He was amazing. I held my place in that goddamn crowd for more than six hours and every fall, bruise, kick to the head (the sadist in me was holding out for a black eye but I just got a measly little cut), lost handbag, and spilled cup of water (on and around my head, largely) was worth it to finally see him do his thing. 14 years in the making. I don’t have an actual #bucketlist but if I was organised enough to think about things like that he definitely would have been on it. Maybe I'll publish one somewhere just to feel a sense of achievement when I pop a tick alongside his name?

Blurcore. But you get the idea. CLOSE.

Kill You, Like Toy Soldiers, and Till I Collapse were my absolute highlights. And honestly, what a babe.
Other good things happened too. Care to know more? Read on.
Emineggs benedict with prosecco and sunshine for breakfast, a bomb diggidy apartment, "is she a biker chick?", always with the festival Tuborg, Bastille doing City High’s What Would You Do, being blown away by System of a Down TWELVE YEARS (holy shit, how old am I?) after I first saw them live at Big Day Out, jumping around to Green Day with Rhys, sweating my face off with the girls at Skrillex, nearly being run over by two trucks ("WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH"), Random Talkative Man On The Side Of The Road thinks our names are Sarah, Jade, Alice, Sarah and Ryan, Angry Taxi Driver Number 1, Maccazzzzzzzzz, sleeping like a log.

Better than a golden ticket. Baby Seal Face and me.

Oh hai.
System of a Down. Still going strong.

This man had no clothes on. And did helicopters. If you know what I mean.

Tiny Annalies. Giant crowd.
Emineggs & bacon because that joke will be hilarious for the rest of our lives, #beaniebrigade and ponchos, grubby teenagers (jokes G, you’re lovely even when you’re unshowered), all of the wine and strawberries, Twin Atlantic and White Lies and The Foals, an actual bride in an actual wedding dress, sharing cigars and brandy & Coke in the crowd, weeing in paper cups, getting absolutely hammered during Chase & Status but still managing to sing along to No Problem and Time and Blind Faith and End Credits in between gasping for air and picking myself (and other people) up off the ground, THEN EMINEM WAS THERE (with Mr Porter and Royce Da 5’9 and Dido for crying out loud!), a lost handbag (I still had the strap so that’s… something?), grabby security guards, bruises “up the wazoo”, Doritos and pizza in bed, sleeping like a (pained, pained) log.

Green Day.

Teaminem 2013. See what we did there?

Rhys getting down to Twin Atlantic.


Aftermath. My shins. Worth it.

Summer in the UK.
A joyful reunion with my handbag and all of its contents (minus the cash) (but can you blame them?), a quick glimpse of The Lumineers, HAIM beatin’ on their drums, crappy merchandise (why do I do it to myself?), Fall Out Boy who were sahhhhhhh cool, Disclosure and a guest appearance from Sam Smith for Latch – so good!, Azalea Banks (I remain… unconvinced but well done on the weave love), then Billy Clifford Biffy Clyro (Dear Simon: never, ever put a shirt on. Ever.) who closed out the festival in super epic, sweaty style with Mountains,  Angry Taxi Driver Number 2, “Are you from Germany?”, discussing whether or not Scottish currency is legal tender in the middle of the road is potentially dangerous, pizza in bed (I detect a theme!), and wait for it… sleeping like a log. Seriously, if fatigue is what ails ya try getting smashed about in a crowd for hours on end – it is exhausting and painful and wonderful but mostly exhausting and painful.

Doing it for The 04. Teaminem 2013.
Teaminem2013, you are the best. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. X

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rebekah Lucy Loves Belgium

Um, absence makes the heart grow fonder right? I’ve been slack. Real slack. That’s okay though, ‘cause I think about seven people read this and I’m sure their lives have carried on just fine without me.

I do feel a bit useless and sad for my own recollection purposes because I haven’t written about wonderful things like going to Glasgow and Ayr with my beautiful Scottish tour guide Jenny where I walked on the very street where my great-grandfather John Ross-Smith was born in 1886, nor my trip with Annalies to beautiful Budapest (that joint, what a stunner) where we cruised the Danube and wandered for hours and drank Hungarian champagne in an old bathtub at Szimpfla Kert, nor the electronic tables at Inamo, nor the amazing time I had with my little brother Ben and his girlfriend Sarah when they came to visit and we went to cool places like Hampton Court Palace and Sushisamba (best views of London to date!) and Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum and then sometimes just sat and drank beer and talked for hours, nor Kirsti’s hen’s night which culminated in chicken-shop air guitar and a nap on the bus (Ani, not me), nor Musical Bingo with Erica (it’s fun! Motown and 90s! You should go play! Does that count as a review EJV? *cough), nor all of the beautiful weather in London and Summer BBQs, nor the animatronic T-Rex I met at the Natural History Museum, nor that time I went to see The Martin Harley Band with my new workmates and got drunk and ended up… tarmacking the road with the road-workers, nor discovering the best little blow dry bar on dirty old North End Road, nor that time I secured another tattoo appointment with Dan Smith for October (feet, ouch!) You know, all of the goodness and craziness and happiness that is my little life in London.
I’m back now, for a second crack at this thing. And guess what? I recently went to Belgium. You should go. It’s all kinds of surprising and adorable (and emotional, what is wrong with me?) you know.

My Gran’ma and Gran’pa are in the Northern hemi at the moment, on a visit from New Zealand. In all of the years they’ve travelled the world (and believe me, they’ve clocked up some miles) (it’s basically the coolest story in the world) (but that’s for another place, another time) they’d never made it to Belgium, nor had my Aunt Helen (also well-travelled and worldly, that one). Annalies, who I took with me for moral support and spooning purposes (not really, I have to build a pillow wall when I share a bed so I don't wake up looking at anyone - being single for too long has made me weird yo) had paid a fleeting trip to Bruges once upon a time, and I’d been to Brussels and Bruges back in February 2011 to stay with my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Terry who used to live there (my family, so jet-set). I remembered it was adorable, but cold. So I was pretty excited to spend some more time and see it in the sunshine. You know, ‘cause I’m old and I like to be warm.
First stop: Brussels. Annalies had never seen the joint and wanted to be whelmed by the Mannekin Pis and have her breath taken away (not my words, but dang) by the Grand Place and I was happy enough to see it all again (and drink some beer, let's be honest).
Our quirky little B&B was just a few minutes’ walk away from both of the aforementioned (who even uses that word?) tourist hot spots - a pretty sweet little abode (I'm sahhh into white on white on white) run by a guy called Xavier and his mum. We had the loft room so we roasted like chickens in a roasting pan, but otherwise it was dandy. We caught the Eurostar over (highlights: wine) after work so arrived pretty late and hit the hay. In the morning we slothed about a bit and took photos with the fan - it was one of those weird bladeless ones that Dyson are doing these days? Science: it's confusing! Then we wandered down to the Grand Place, via Mannekin Pis who I was pretty stoked to see in his natural, naked state as the last time I saw him he was wearing some kind of hideous red and yellow track suit. Apparently he has over 700 costumes now; the city has actually employed someone who sews for him. "Yes, I sew clothes for a statute which wees in to a fountain and it is my fulltime job and what do you do?"
We chanced upon a free walking tour (go Sandeman's!) in the Grand Place, so after we'd taken a few 9,000 photos we wandered around with the group and took in some street art (new favourite: Invader!), beautiful buildings, 45 minutes of useless information about chocolate and the tour guide's grandmother, and some local deros drinking on the steps of the opera house before the tour made a pit stop at a bar. Now we're talking: Belgian beer. We, being sahhh in to culture and all that, decided to bail on the tour at this point so we could drink more beer, and eat frites. When in Rome, you know.
Next stop: Bruges. My grandparents had booked a couple of amazing apartments not far from The Markt and it was so good to see their smiling faces when we arrived. Now I know it's always good to see your whanau, but mine comes with the added bonus of being amazing and therefore I win at life. Helen and her girls live in the 'Wolds so I get to see them semi-regularly (but not often enough, *waves), but it had been nearly two years since I last saw my grandparents. I think? I'm bad with... calendars. The first evening we drank gin and ate good food and talked a lot, before wandering for ice cream and... wait for it... more photos. Annalies and I stayed out to take in the ambience of The Markt and were treated to shots of "my milk" (you can vom now or save it for the next bit - up to you) from the half-Belgian, half-Italian waiter. In case you were wondering, which we weren't, he's top half Belgian, bottom half Italian and no thank you, we won't be coming for a drink after the bar closes but we do appreciate the roses. And the "milk". Except not the "milk". Or the roses. Or the creep sauce.
The next day we slept late and stuffed ourselves with croissants (best start), then hopped aboard a canal cruise with yet another idiot (I swear they're taking over the world) at the helm, who rather fancied himself as a bit of a James Bond. To be honest, I wasn't really listening to his narrative but Bruges is cute and I got about a million photos, including one of a Labrador napping on a window sill so I was happy enough. Helen spotted a true work of art from the river so after we docked (apparently I'm a sailor now) we went to the flea market to check it out. Turns out the asking price for a Rampant Ferret on a Branch is circa 23 Euros in 2013. Good to know. Annalies bought yet another plate, and I bought nothing because other people's second hand crap makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable. Then we went for food and beer, glorious beer. I think there was napping involved shortly thereafter. And chocolate. Before more gin and food and talking and avoiding of creepy waiters by staying in and spending quality time and being reminded how cool my grandparents are.
The next morning, post-croissant (stop it) Helen set the girls off on a bike ride to the beach, and us old folk crossed the street to check out Choco Story. If you're ever in Bruges: don’t! In my opinion at least, it's not that interesting, and although the mascot Chocolala is rather adorable, chocolate sculptures are the opposite of adorable, especially when they're slightly dusty and / or broken. And I still don't know why those hessian-draped mannequins were nailed to the wall? If you do get sucked in, for whatever reason, you may wish to also get a ticket to Lumina Domestica which is in the same building. Yes. The LAMP Museum. Go on, treat yourself. And report back for my entertainment. We did watch a short movie about chocolate which was kind of interesting, like on a scale of 1 to wanttopokemyeyesout, it was maybe only a 5 so like... bearable. And there was a free chocolate (or two) at the end so that's nice and definitely what my fat ass needed.
A quick visit, needless to say before we headed to the Burg - another gorgeous square which houses some amazing buildings like the City Hall, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. 12th century, absolutely stunning and yes, home to a vial of actual Jesus blood you guys. I remain unconvinced but it's there for the viewing if you're partial. Then we enjoyed some more beer (natch, rude not too, etcetera) and cheese and salami and weird waiters.
On account of being well-read and clever and organised, Helen had done some research and discovered that there is a Michelangelo Madonna and Child at the Church of Our Lady, dated around 1504. I'm not overly spiritual or religious or any of those things, but I am quite partial to churches (I may or may not be inclined to touch them). In addition to the Michelangelo, the Church of Our Lady houses the tombs of Charles the Bold who was the last Valois Duke of Burgundy and his daughter Mary. Gilded bronze figures of both lie on huge polished slabs of shiny black stone. The majority of the interior of the church is currently being refurbished, I guess that detracts from the beauty of it? I've got a bit of a crush on grand buildings (or cities) which are in a state of semi-disrepair so it kind of added to the ambience for me. And despite not being especially spiritual or religious like I said, there’s something about being inside those joints that gets under my skin for whatever reason. Like if I stayed for long enough I might start to believe? Maybe I already do kind of believe in something but I've always been too stubborn to admit it because it doesn't make sense. Or maybe I’m just going crazy in my old age? It's probably the latter.
Next stop: Ypres. I wasn’t exactly prepared for this bit. Emotional is one word for it. Helen took Annalies and I out that evening, with The Last Post at the Menin Gate and a visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery on the agenda. On our way to the former we chanced upon Essex Farm Cemetery, which is the site where John McCrae wrote his famous poem In Flanders Fields, to which there’s a sweet memorial set up at Essex Farm…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
After Essex Farm, at The Menin Gate we watched the Last Post ceremony which is performed by buglers from the local fire brigade every night at 8pm, with support from various war veterans and cadets and the like. It’s been that way since 1927, except for a short stint during the German occupation in World War II when the ceremony was conducted in Surrey instead. On the very day that Polish forces liberated Ypres in WWII the Last Post was resumed at the gate despite the fact that fighting carried on in the surrounding areas. I started choking up before the ceremony had even started; the names of nearly 55,000 (fifty five THOUSAND!) Commonwealth soldiers who died in Ypres Salient but whose bodies have never been identified nor found are inscribed on the walls – the sheer volume of lives lost is just too much to get one’s head around. There’s an inscription on the gate which reads “Here are recorded the names of officers and men who fell in Ypres Salient but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.” That set me off again. As did the Ode of Remembrance. I mean, I’m hardly made of stone but it’d be hard to imagine even the iciest of ice maidens not getting slightly misty in Ypres…
After the Last Post we took a quick wander through The Grote Markt which was truly, truly striking. More beautiful bulidings, especially the Cloth Hall which dates back to the 13th century. Then, before we lost the sun we drove out to Tyne Cot Cemetery. That was the most emotional bit for me; those Kiwi boys so far from home, and so many of them Known Unto God. No names on the grave stones, no known graves for thousands of them. We were lucky to be the last three people there that day; maybe lucky is the wrong word but for a couple of moments I couldn’t even see Helen or Annalies and there was something kind of special about that for me. It’s a truly beautiful space, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has done a superb job. Those Kiwi kids so far from home got a pretty sweet final resting place, that’s for sure.
I have these moments where I’m struck by how extraordinary life is, as I'm sure everyone does. That night was one of those moments for me. I feel pretty lucky that my life is what it is, and that time has brought me where it has. And that I was able to pay my respects to those who fell for the greater good, and for the safe and happy life I’ve been so privileged to lead. Moved, grateful, humbled for sure.
Back to: Bruges. On our last morning, post-pastry, the lot of us headed for the Beguinage where the Beguines, who are kind of like 'half-nuns' live. The Beguines don’t take a formal religious vow, but they do live in small communities and devote themselves to prayer and good works and nice things like that. Unfortunately it wasn’t yet open so we couldn’t explore inside, but the domed exterior of the building was quite beautiful – I do love me a good dome.
Instead we strolled up the road a short way to check out the windmills, do roly polys (big slopes = genuine motion sickness), and lay about in the sunshine beside the water. As it was our last day, we absolutely had to buy chocolate and drink more beer and shop for lace and eat waffles, so Annalies and I spent a few hours back in the town doing priority things like that with Georgia and Alex, before we tragically had to say our goodbyes and get our taxi back to the train station and make tracks back to London...
Hey Belgium, you're a bit of alright.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rebekah Lucy Loves Cambridge

A couple of weeks ago Annalies and I took a day trip to Cambridge. It is adorable. And we are stupid. We simply got off the train and... had no idea what to do next. We knew we wanted to go punting, natch, so we took a quick look at a map, roughly committed a few street names to memory (key error: Annalies has a terrible memory, and I was operating on about three hours sleep as per the norm), and walked for approximately one hour in the wrong direction, culminating in someones driveway and a retrace of our own steps.

That little blip aside, we soon found the river, ambled along to Granta Moorings, and sat in the sunshine sipping pink cider and patting Luca the dog while we waited for our turn in a punt. I had delusions of grandeur and imagined we would do our own punting, but after watching a handful of grown muscle men trying and struggling, I pretty swiftly changed my mind and let Miles, our 11 year old* chauffeur take charge.

*I sometimes exaggerate for effect. Now that I am 30 everyone else looks approximately 11 to me.

Although 11, Miles knew a lot about the history of Cambridge - he's a local innit. He talked us through the history of the beautiful college buildings, and the various competitions that have taken place on the river (death on the Cam! Seriously! Or... according to Cambridge legend at least...). Miles talked, we floated. And lost all feeling in our buttocks. And collided with less experienced punters more than a few times. And worried about That There Baby Which Is Rather Precariously Perched On A Sloping Bank.


After the punt, we wandered back to The Anchor which had a really sweet view up the river. We inhaled some cheap wine (mmm, unsealed) and pub grub before making our way in to the city centre for exploring and photos. We ended up inside the King's College grounds - there may or may not have been a sign (there was) which said the school was closed, but we simply opened the gate and popped through for some photos. I also touched the green, green, softy, softy grass. And Annalies pole danced on a fancy lamp post. Out the other side, we found the river again and took some glamour shots on the bridge before making our way back through the grounds only to find the gate was... proper closed. Luckily it had some kind of hidden porthole to another dimension gate within a gate so the panic was only short lived and we didn't have to swim to safety.


Then we found another pub, had some cider, got a bit lost, ignored the men who wanted to touch my tattoos, and made our way back to the train station for the way-too-long-at-9pm-trek back to London.

Go to Cambridge. It's (b)romantic and pretty. Have a plan. Take a map. Punt. Pose on a bridge. Drink some cider. Worth it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rebekah Lucy Loves Random Little Treats

A summary of awesome things which have happened in and around London lately. Or... not so lately because this has been sitting in draft for about nine years now.

1. I turned 30. And it was painless. A sleep in, super thoughtful presents, cards and messages galore, flowers, a Hummingbird cupcake delivery, a frying pan and a bottle of bub shared with LP, Mexican and margaritas in Covent Garden with a dozen of my bestest ladies, a home made pavlova from Hobbs (go the Kiwiana!), shots and bubbles in Fulham and home to bed before I turned in to a pumpkin. I had a proper soiree in Camden a couple of weeks later too. With more of these awesome people I have somehow tricked in to being my friends. I wore a pink dress. Who am I?

2. I got a new tattoo. From Dan Smith. It's a little dedication to my lovely little family. And it's beautiful. Dan guests at The Family Business whenever he's in town and thanks to the wonder that is Instagram I spied that he was visiting in April, sent him an email as fast as my typing fingers would let me, and locked down an appointment. I met Dan at the London Tattoo Convention last year so I already knew he was a Cool Dude, but seriously - what a gem. We talked about New Zealand (natch), and other important things such as the magic roundabout in Swindon, and Embarrassing Bodies. The tattoo is amazing - I've never seen line work like it, crisp and clean and perfect. He's back in London in September, so... watch this space.


3. I started a new contract job at the Bank of England. The building is beautiful and immense, the role is busy (which is a good thing generally, I go a bit mental when I'm bored), and I've managed to not really get lost. Yet. I do have to spend half my time in the basement with the project team which is... less than ideal, but I haven't been this excited about a job in a long time.
4. I went on a random weekend jaunt to Slough (!) and Twyford for a wedding with Annalies. We hired a rental car (by the way if you're ever in a hybrid and it won't start, Annalies recommends simply tapping the battery) (it actually works) and stayed at a wee roadside hotel called the Wee Waif. It's slightly awkward when the only person you (vaguely) know is the groom, but we met some friendlies at the church, and after downing a bottle of wine in our hotel room we re-attached ourselves to them again at the reception. Nice people, weird music, tasty cupcakes, sweet moves (I may or may not have busted out The Robot) (I did) and booze: a recipe for success.

5. I went to Windsor. Annalies and I decided to make the most of the rental car and came home via Windsor. By the way, Windsor is cute! Annalies had already been to the castle so we didn't go in (add it to the UK Bucket List, my brother's here in June so...), instead we wandered along the river, ate ice cream, snapped photos and bought pencils (her, not me) on the main street, had a drink at The Two Brewers where Zinzan is rumoured to be a regular (no luck), and walked part of The Long Walk. It's a walk. And it's long. Before we dropped the car back we picked up Jenny and zoomed through Hyde Park and up to Primrose Hill to take more photos, do roly polys (me) and pole dance on a lamp post (Jenny). Standard.


6. I saw Phoenix live with LP. They were awesome. If you don't believe me, just ask Party Dave who danced and fist-pumped out of time for the duration of the gig.

7. I went to the ANZAC dawn service at Hyde Park. I'm really glad I did it too. (Gallipoli next year me thinks.) The excerpts from letters and diaries were very moving and the haka was amazing, but the haka is always pretty amazing. Kudos to my new friend Sarah for phoning to wake me up too. Seriously though, 4am. Come on.

8. I went to David Bowie Is at the Victoria and Albert museum. Annalies gets a few sweet perks with her job, so we were able to see the exhibition, go to a comedy lecture presented by Adam Buxton of BUG (so good, Google him) and have a cocktail on the house. Mine was a Stardust Royale, hers a Life on Mars. The bartenders only took about 17 attempts to mix mine. (Long story.) (At least they were pretty?) The exhibition was extraordinary - an amazing collection of his costumes, particularly from the Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane eras when Kansai Yamamoto was responsible for much of his costuming. Some of it was absolutely batshit, like Gaga meets Swinton. Before Gaga or Swinton. The whole exhibition is interactive, so we were kitted out with headsets which played different narrative or music, depending on which display we were facing. Some of the photography was exceptional too. And I saw the crystal from Labyrinth. Get in!

9. I met Milo. X